Fear – Part Two

Be Happy Keep On Working
Be Happy Keep On Working

I am three weeks late with this essay I will not apologise; there is a life to live and much to do. Running the business, attending weekend events and the occasional social interaction, every day adds up and soon becomes a month. It is of no concern if a day is one of work, problem solving or arduous. Each one has its special moments, every hour is rewarding. If my essay is a little late, forgive me I am a busy man.

We have to experience fear to understand it. It is not a cinema seat, horror film moment. Nor is fear the fairground ride designed to awaken every nerve in our body. The greatest fear is not death; it is the journey to the final sleep.

Some people fear to be broke, without a relationship, the driving test or growing old. Allow me to dissolve the illusion, each one of these examples is solvable, repairable or inevitable. The disease has a different connotation; it set’s many seeds of possibilities within the imagination. Some words contain possible death warrants, cancer or septicaemia are two examples, and believe me, fear sets in when this pair come to play in the garden of health. It is the journey which holds the fear, not the destination.

How do we cope with the word ‘fear’? We do so by accepting it, not fighting it. Don’t say to yourself ‘I’ll put on a brave persona’ acting out the character of being without fear is hard work, and inevitably the performance wanes. When I said to my friend ‘Of course I am frightened’ the words freed him from either embarrassment or commenting ‘I think it will be alright.’ How would anyone know the outcome of the sickness? We should realise the problem with kind words; the sentiments prolong the deception. However when we say ‘Of course there is fear’ we demonstrate a facing of the facts, not an admission of weakness. The master key is, by accepting the reality, our courage overwhelms the fear.

The emotion known as fear cannot prosper when a factual appraisal of a situation is made. As we accept the circumstances; courage begins to overwhelm the fear. The reader could consider the idea as too simplistic. To do so, will mean missing an opportunity to deal with the most negative aspect of serious illness. Acceptance leaves no space for ‘what if’ and ‘maybe.’ The reality is when internal dialogue says ‘What if I die?’ or ‘Maybe the illness will go away’ there is no acceptance of the situation. When self-talk says ‘My disease is life threatening. I will work with the professionals and give myself every opportunity to become well’ this is the reality.

Never be in denial, it is a typical and unhelpful attitude. To deny anything is a self-deception. Consider it is possible serious illness became more grave or even untreatable because of a denial of symptoms. During my illness, there was no escaping the reality of the situation. In fact during the final year my wife Carol could never be confident of me waking from my night’s rest. There had been a few ‘what if’s’ and ‘maybe’s’ during the early days. Later, I realised reality and fact are better companions. I could not deny the symptoms of the disease. The feeling of helplessness very near overwhelmed my existence, this only happened once or twice. A determination live each day in the best possible way became my focal point.

There will be times when doubts enter the mind, although doubt is preferable to fear. When this occurs, refer to considering the facts of your situation. The consultant diagnoses the illness; he will offer suggestions for different treatments. The patient decides which course to take and the journey begins. Now the reader will understand it is the journey, not the destination which causes the feeling of fear.

When deciding to follow the idea that fact overwhelms fiction, and fear is the seed of courage the journey becomes easier and purposeful. At this marker do your best to live life as normally a possible. During my illness, I continued to work in our business and live as normal a life as possible. Even on days when the imps of doubt began to cause mischief, I forced myself to continue. Never give up, always consider today and tomorrow, go no further, as speculation is the of little use.

Now I am fit and well, my days are never dull or wasted. I watch many people spend their lives doing nothing. How strange the truth; when we have encountered the possibility of the final sleep. We realise life is extended by activity. The man who lives a life of sloth may live a for 100 years, and in truth, he lives for a day. The man who exists for 60 years and enjoys each day, lives a lifetime.

Every Day A Winner
Every Day A Winner

Live life – Be happy

Donor Ambassador Campbell Wallace

Cam Donor Ambassador
Here’s… Campbell !!!

If you are a visitor to Manchester, you may have noticed the National Donor Register Campaign posters. It is the strangest of feelings to see yourself on the massive billboard. They say a picture says a thousand words. And the exert from a recent interview explains what the posters are all about.

 

Make one click on your computer and five minutes of your time answering a few questions and your registered. You can hover and click on the pictures on the page, and it will link you straight to the page. And then you become part of an exclusive community which makes a commitment to help strangers return to a better life; in the event of premature death.

True Fans
True Fans

One way of considering why we would consider entering onto the register. You leave the ultimate gifts. It does not matter how wealthy you are possessions are worthless in the final sleep. And yet, the gift of your organs are worth all the material wealth in the world. If your desire is to leave a testament to your growth as a human being, this one act surpasses any other bequest.

Live life – Stay Happy – Campbell

When Fear Appears – Part One

Campbell Wallace
Campbell Wallace

During an acute illness, we encounter the demon of fear. It is an insipid imp which effects the inner being and can cause far-reaching problems if it is not dealt with efficiently. Do not jump to conclusions; it is easy to believe being in a mental dip is a sign of weakness and is the reason for fear. This is far from accurate. Serious illness is a multifaceted situation. 1) Obviously, the body is in dis-ease. 2) There are uncertainties for the future. 3) The weeks ahead will be a round of tests and treatments. 4) Illness has negative financial implications. These are just four of the many aspects of the story. If you consider the whole situation it is easier to eliminate the areas which cannot be controlled and begin to focus on becoming well.

  1. Accept you are ill, forget the why and how, work for today and leave the future to be what it will be.
  2. The future is unknown. However the future is unknown to all humanity, your illness is where you are at. So this is why we stay with today.
  3. Get into the flow of it all. Speculation is one of the ‘imps’ greatest friends, deprive the imp of his pleasure.
  4. Batten down the hatches. Just for the moment keep your purse strings tight. Let everyone know you feel its circumspect to become careful with finance.

The first issue I will address is researching your sickness. By all means ask your health professionals about the diagnosis and treatment. Read all of the documentation given to you by your consultant or doctor. However be careful with the internet. Tapping those keys can and will cause anxieties worse than the disease. If you are of brave heart, dig in and print out the information learned. Print it, because will not be long before the many conflicting opinions and views you have read, will become a storm of fear. And once locked into the imagination, the imp will wave the fears like a protest banner at every opportunity. When the information is printed the ideas can be compared, and the investigator will see the conflicting information.

Well, meaning friends, love them for their kindness and support. Remember they live in houses, not pathology laboratories. Most work in average to goodness jobs, not in hospital consultant rooms. Few have spent eight years studying the symptoms of the disease. Support and friendship yes, diagnosis of life threatening disease, probably not. And, forget, and I mean forget the harbingers of doom, with stories of wrong leg amputations and blood dripping waiting room trolleys. It amazes me all the hours I’ve spent being looked after by the NHS I have never seen the Victorian blood baths. Everyone carries a camera in their pocket, why don’t we see these pictures? And on the odd occasion something remiss does happen, is it taken out of context.

Become focussed on realities; attention to supposition is like pouring petrol on your barbeque, it’s Russian roulette. Remember the little imp is ready and waiting to take on the job of undermining your well-being. Do not allow well-meaning people or digging into the mine of misinformation keep the wretch awake in the imagination. The imagination is a fertile ground for creativity, it will cultivate anything from light bulb moments of genius to dungeons of despair. Plant the seeds of goodness and watch the sunflowers grow. Seed the mind with brambles and it’s the devils own job to clear the illusion, it is your choice. Think about the idea of seeds, and remind yourself the disease is part of the story (let’s call it a story, a story about the illness sounds interesting). Consider you are central to the story, set the seed in your mind that you’ll only be growing the ‘right’ seeds and the name on the bag is fact and truth. When anxiety enters the imagination, and the imp is playing his games. Ask him about the reality, ask him about the facts, ask him about today, do not waste time asking the way to ‘What ifs’?’

While waiting for appointments, resist the temptation to think others are in a worse situation. You are in your story and you my friend is where the attention must be centred. And for those who read this and think otherwise, allow me to be blunt: No one who is within acute illness desires sympathy, a big smile, laughter, and happiness is our tonic. A sorry looking face across the room only compounds the situation. I am not commenting sympathy is not understood or acknowledged, however, while we are still breathing and in with a chance, a smile is preferred to a ‘You’re looking better’ because the phrase can be misinterpreted. Illness make the mind become distorted, and the little imp will say ‘I wonder if they are just saying that?’ Talk normally to friends and gently change the subject if they dwell too long on the situation.

Consultations can be stressful. Some patients think the surgeon is a little ‘cold’ or ‘distant’. Do not read this incorrectly, they see many patients in a day, and to become emotionally involved with each one would break them down. Remember they are human, so give them a chance, big smiles seem to be rewarded with the extra few minutes of explanation or reassurance. There is no point in getting uptight if you ask ‘What are my chances?’ and the reply is ‘The prognosis is good’ the answer takes many factors into account. I have a distinct feeling; no surgery is performed it there is no chance of survival. Allow the imp to sleep; ask clear questions and write the answers in a notebook, so as the information is not forgotten or distorted. Remember anxiety is the feeling of worry once you get into the habit of immediately addressing the feeling it will not take long before you become in control of it.

How do you deal with anxiety? I would guide you to begin to read novels, listen to music or do something different, for example by like me, take up writing. It is amazing how many of the happy times of your life will be recalled. Beware, it’s an addictive pass-time. In fact, the most important factor to help keep the imp asleep is to break usual habits and do something different in your routine. One last consideration your family loves you, talk with clarity about your feelings. We cannot be mind readers, allow loved one’s to know and understand your feeling. Free them from not knowing what to do or say about your illness.

More next week – Live live well – Keep the Imp asleep -Campbell

Donor Appeal

Campbell Wallace
Campbell Wallace

I was recently approached become an ambassador for The National Organ Donor Register. I only needed to be asked once. Here is the official announcement:-

If you could save a life would you? 

Right now, there are around 6,500 people across the UK waiting for an organ transplant. 

You could help someone in need of a transplant in future by signing up as an organ donor.  

If you donate your organs when you die you could save or improve the lives of up to nine people, and help even more if you donate tissue and corneas.

We need as many people as possible to register their commitment to becoming organ donors so if they die in circumstances where their organs or tissue could be used to help others, authorised NHS Blood and Transplant staff can see what they wanted to happen.

We know many people don’t want to think about their own death but patients waiting for a transplant depend on people of all ages thinking about whether they want to save lives when they die and registering their decision to become a donor.  Every potential donor is precious as only around 5,000 people across the UK each year die in circumstances where they could donate their organs. 

If you want to save lives as an organ donor sign up on the NHS Organ Donor Register, share your decision with your family and make clear to them that you want them to support this decision if your organs can be used when you die. 

Your age, nor any existing medical conditions should stop you from signing up and telling your family that you want to help others.

In the last year over 18,000 people joined the NHS Organ Donor Register in Manchester and Salford.  Join them to save and improve lives.

To coincide with this announcement Ian Timothy recorded an interview with ‘yours truly’ which provides some insight into being a transplant patient. During the interview I talk about my early life and how lessons learned in childhood influenced the way I dealt with my illness. The interview was recorded on 19th Febuary in Newark.

 

Many people ask me about finding inner strenght during illness. I am writing an extensive post about learning to understand serious illness which will be posted on 16th March.

Enjoy Life – And Live it – Campbell

Make Time

 

Make Time For Life
Make Time For Life

In the years Carol and I built our business’s the words ‘I haven’t time’ were often spoken. We dedicated our lives to our success’s. There is nothing unusual in this; millions of people will say the same three words today. It is interesting that when I became ill, Carol, family and friends adjusted their timetables to help me through the illness and recovery. They made time for me, and I understand the commitment and sacrifices were no small cost.

It is coming up to the festive season, and there will be parents who are struggling with the pressure already. Excessive financial commitment, emotional memories and conflicts precede the two-day extravaganza. For many people it is not a festive season holding emotions of happiness and celebration, it a period of foreboding and anticipation of debts and credit card bills in the new year. Big smiles are hiding serious concerns.

We have all become overwhelmed by the sentiments of the season, brainwashed by the superb big store advertisements and anticipation of New Year sales. Once we cooked a turkey, now Jamie tempts us into a ten-course meal and has not cared for the reality of ordinary people’s kitchens or dining space. And for all of this, most of us love the mayhem! Kids are opening presents, Grandmother taking over the comfortable chair, people nursing hangover heads, falling asleep in the afternoon, knowing full well its a big mistake.

I would ask people to think about those who are no longer with us. Those who we knew so well and loved so much, because the memories of our loved ones guide us to the reality of our lives. I would sit down to baked bean’s on toast with a glass of water if I could celebrate my Christmas day with family loved and adored who are no longer with me. I know the impossibility of the desire, I know the power of the thought. You see, a box full of presents are worthless, compared to a conversation with someone you love. It is almost as if the real value of the gifts is they are a passport for meetings and family gatherings. Never take the moments of the family community away from the season’s illusion. And for many people the season is a dream, when the tree is returned to the attic, the toys are broken, and the new PlayStation game comes out in February, it is the pictures or videos of the gatherings which are remembered.

If there is a sentiment to think of, think of this. Millions make time for three days of celebration; they plan and save and enter into debt for weeks beforehand. Is the time invested in the season of goodwill wasted? In other words, does the cost outweigh the rewards? To my mind if we consider the family community, meeting of friends, a celebration of giving and receiving and all of these interactions are kept well within our emotional, physical, spiritual and material means; the effort is worthwhile. The moment the celebration becomes a hidden burden, then the season is an illusion of happiness, not a heartfelt celebration.

I realised these thoughts when Carol and I made time to enjoy some time in Agadir ~ Morocco last week. You can receive a hundred presents and still be unhappy or your heart can be filled with love and content with a kiss. You can never buy friends or gain respect with toys and trinkets. You win friends with the gifts of honesty and integrity. The sentiment of this essay is this; Time is a present you cannot give to any man, and you cannot make it. Why not make the whole of the year to come, one where the greatest gift you can give is your time to those you love.

Before I became ill and my transplant returned me to health. I wasted my life by not understanding the three words ‘I haven’t time’ ~ You can be sure I know what those words mean now. I will not give you the answer, think it out for yourself!

I thank the donors and their families for their ultimate gifts. I know you will not be together at Christmas, my thoughts will be with you on Christmas morning. The donor’s gifts are the greatest of all, may their families be blessed with peace and prosperity.

Happy Season and Happy Holidays
Campbell and Carol

Strange Encounter

Good Day My Friends
Good Day My Friends

Three items on this post firstly the link to the interview I made at St Georges Hall Liverpool. I would appreciate you sharing the link with friends and enemies, either way; it should have a suitable effect! I would be interested in your opinions of the video; please let me know.

Incidentally during the week after Liverpool I was attending an event and became part of a strange conversation. A lady cheerfully informed me she would happily receive an organ donation, but no way would she put her name on the donor register. I have an open mind about people’s opinions, although this woman baffled me. She thought her opinion was some twisted joke. Believing, she was in some way ‘winding’ up my intolerance spring.

The donor/recipient relationship is holistic and delicate. We should be careful of opinion as sometimes there is a risk of damaging the system. Consider the danger of A.N. Other listening to the ‘Take but not give’ selfish attitude. It is possible a potential donor could decide to reflect upon the possibility of their donation being given to an undeserving recipient. I would not concern myself about this because there is no such person as an ungrateful transplant patient. If the woman I write of actually became in need of an organ, believe me, her attitude would change.

Life is a wholesome lesson, not a lesson in selfishness. When you read ‘Second Chance’ you discover, the patient does not walk into a hospital and say ‘Hey man, give me a kidney’. We become ill; the illness becomes grave and finally life threatening. At some stage, the decision is made to place the patient on the transplant list. And then the process begins, it is complex and involves tens of people and hours of examinations. The woman missed the point; she believed she would be in control of the situation. ‘I’d have a transplant, but I’d never donate an organ’ sound’s all nice and dandy for those who think they are ‘savvy’. Truth to tell it would all change once illness sets in.

We have to be mentally strong to survive extreme illness, and we have to have compassion and understanding for our fellow humans. I feel this is not important; it is essential. I had no concern for the somewhat selfish attitude of the ‘take but not give’ woman. Because, the real truth, the essential truth is the patient needs to have love, understanding and compassion within their being. I wonder if the poor lady understood this basic requirement. If you are to overcome illness, there is NO room for illusion. If you blinker your eyes to any situation, if you make excuses for others, you have compromised your being. I will not compromise my reality and understanding of the donor system, there is no room for the nonsense of fools, it is a real life experience, not a windup inferior-superior joke. As I wrote somewhere else ‘A weak heart never won a fair maiden. And there is no more beautiful maiden than LIFE.

Part Two; I have received excellent feedback on ‘Second Chance’ and here are the latest additions to the growing number of ‘five-star’ reviews. If you have read it, your comments on the Amazon site would also be gratefully appreciated. Remember your contribution encourages others to read the book. And everyone who reads it could become a potential donor. The World needs donors!

campbell-amazon-review
Campbell-amazon-review

Part Three; Many people wonder if my life is ‘normal’. It is probable they wonder if I am in some way disabled after having such major surgery. Well here’s a picture of me at Formby Beach. The day started before seven and finished well after ten. Did I feel worn out or exhausted? Not at all, my life is as normal as yours, and I intend to take advantage of every moment of my ‘Second Chance’.

My New Friend
My New Friend

Live Life Well

Campbell